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    Tooting our own horns - Transportation Department awarded grant for new school buses

    Tom Spellman, a Transportation Shop Supervisor for Lake Washington School District’s (LWSD) Transportation Department, applied for, and was awarded, a $560,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology. This grant provides $35,000 per bus toward the purchase of 16 new school buses (approximately 31% of the total cost). The grant’s objective is to reduce emissions by replacing older buses with newer buses, thereby reducing toxic emissions up to 99%.

    LWSD’s Transportation Department regularly replaces aging buses, and these are buses that were on the schedule to be replaced.  Orders for the first six buses have been placed and ten more will be purchased next year.

    LWSD purchases buses through the Transportation Vehicle Fund (TVF). The resources for this fund comes from annual payments by the state for depreciation and remaining funds from a one-year levy the district passed in 2001. Over ten years ago, the district moved from purchasing transit style buses (flat nose) to conventional style buses. This change allowed us to keep our new bus purchases more in line with state depreciation funding. The result is the annual state depreciation funds and remaining levy dollars have supported the cost of replacing buses on an ongoing basis, without the need to ask our community for additional levy dollars. This grant provides additional resources to keep the TVF fully funded and support additional growth when needed.

    “This grant is a testament to the transportation team and their commitment to fiscal responsibility,” said Superintendent Dr. Jane Stavem. “It helps us to ensure that we have safe buses for our students, and that we can continue to provide excellent bus services to the families of Lake Washington School District.”

    Photo: (left to right) Associate Superintendent Barbara Posthumus, Transportation Shop Supervisor Tom Spellman, Transportation Manager Jeff Miles and Superintendent Dr. Jane Stavem.